July 1, 2022

Michigan Anesthesiology welcomes 16 new faculty members

Get to know the newest members of our faculty, who will be joining us throughout the summer and fall.

Anne Arewasikporn

Anne Arewasikporn, Ph.D.

Assistant Research Scientist - Chronic Pain & Fatigue Research Center

Ph.D.: Arizona State University
Residency in Behavioral Medicine/Neuropsychology Track: University of Washington
Research Fellowship in MS Rehabilitation: University of Washington

Research interests: Nonpharmacological interventions for pain, fatigue, and mood; positive affect and other socioemotional factors that promote improved functioning and resilience to pain and fatigue; adjustment to disability

Why Michigan Anesthesiology? The unparalleled reputation for innovative research and patient care

Hobbies: A balance of basking in the sun (I'm a native Californian) and curling up on the couch to watch the latest prestige TV with a nice glass of wine

Best advice I've received: Just keep swimming!

Stephan Frangakis, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor - Regional/Ambulatory Anesthesia

Medical School: Duke University
Residency: Duke University
Fellowship in Regional Anesthesiology and Acute Pain Medicine: Duke University
T32 Research Fellowship in Regional Anesthesiology: University of Michigan 

Research Interests: Acute pain, chronic postsurgical pain, pain genetics

Why U-M Anesthesiology: Michigan Anesthesiology is a research powerhouse, especially in acute/chronic pain research and genetics, as well as being one of the best departments clinically.

Hobbies: I like to spend time with my wonderful wife and four children, as well as hobbies like playing guitar, most anything outdoors, and playing video games.

Best advice I’ve received: Two: Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Wear good shoes.


Steven Halter, MD

Steven Halter, M.D.

Clinical Instructor - Orthopedic Anesthesia

Medical School: Wayne State University
Residency: University of Michigan
Fellowship in Regional Anesthesiology: University of Michigan

Why U-M Anesthesiology: Being from Michigan and pursuing anesthesiology, I knew the reputation for amazing medicine and research U-M Anesthesia had. When I first visited, it was very apparent that reputation was well-founded. It was also easy to see how well members of the department from all levels worked together, how invested in wonderful patient care they were, and how sincerely welcoming everyone was. And I'm very happy to say my initial impression has been supported over and over!

Hobbies: Sitting on the back porch in the summertime with family and friends, walks at dusk, skateboarding, enjoying this season of Formula 1

Best advice I’ve received: Don't forget to sweat the small stuff.


Sarina Khan MD

Sarina Khan, D.O.

Clinical Instructor - Pediatric Anesthesia

Medical School: Michigan State University
Residency: University of Michigan
Fellowship in Pediatric Anesthesiology: University of Michigan
Fellowship in Pediatric Congenital Cardiac: University of Michigan

Research Interests: Pain management for congenital cardiac surgery, outcomes of congenital cardiac parturient

Gary Lienhart DO

Gary Lienhart, D.O.

Clinical Instructor - VA Medical Center

Medical School: Des Moines University
Residency: Henry Ford Hospital - Detroit
Fellowship in Pain Medicine: Oregon Health and Science University

Research Interests: Research interests: Cadaveric study tracking dy spread after cervical erector spinae block with low volumes for potential treatment of a variety of chronic neck pain conditions in the outpatient setting

Why U-M Anesthesiology: My interest in Michigan Anesthesiology stems from its remarkable reputation, commitment to research related to the specialty of pain medicine, and it’s long-standing relationship with the VA medical center.    

Hobbies: Spending time with my family, photographing outer space through a telescope, and downhill skiing are my most enjoyable leisure activities.

Best advice I’ve received: Be diligent, show your strengths, and think of others first.


Daniel Meister, MD

Daniel Meister, M.D.

Clinical Assistant Professor - Critical Care-SICU

Medical School: Michigan State University
Residency: University of Michigan
Fellowship in Critical Care Medicine: University of Michigan 

Research Interests: Out of OR airway management, management of difficult/unique airways intraoperatively, and respiratory failure requiring VV ECMO

Why U-M Anesthesiology: The department is world-renowned for its research and clinical care. I was fortunate enough to train at this institution for both residency and fellowship. I’ve seen firsthand how exceptional the faculty, staff, and trainees are throughout the hospital. To be able to continue my career at this institution is a phenomenal opportunity. I am certain that this department facilitates a nurturing environment for professional growth and provides among the best care nationwide.  

Hobbies: Traveling with my wife, going to the gym, and cheering on Wolverine athletics either in person or from the living room.

Best advice I’ve received: Be your own person and don’t worry so much about what other people think. 

Elizabeth Reinhart MD

Elizabeth Reinhart, M.D.

Clinical Instructor - Pediatric Anesthesia

Medical School: University of Toledo College of Medicine
Residency: Yale University
Fellowship in Pediatric Anesthesiology: Yale University 

Research Interests: Optimization of airway techniques and overall perioperative management of patients undergoing thoracic surgery 

Why U-M Anesthesiology: I am from the Midwest (is it a safe place to mention that I went to Ohio State??) and you just cannot beat the Midwestern spirit that the University of Michigan embodies. Everyone already feels like family.  

Hobbies: You can usually find me running before or after work — I am hoping to break three hours in the marathon this year. Other interests include reading, skiing, and going to Disney World with my family. 

Best advice I’ve received: It is easy in our specialty to strive for perfectionism and at times be too hard on ourselves. We will inevitably make mistakes, and through these we learn. As one of my favorite mentors taught me, sometimes you just have to be like Elsa and "let it go"....

Christopher Smith MD

Christopher Smith, M.D.

Clinical Assistant Professor - Pediatric Anesthesia

Medical School: Wayne State University
Residency: Wayne State University/Detroit Medical Center
Fellowship in Pediatric Anesthesiology: University of Michigan

Research Interests: Quality and safety improvement in pediatric anesthesia

Why U-M Anesthesiology: I was born and raised in Ann Arbor, and I am excited about the possibility of my family experiencing all the wonderful things Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan have to offer.  Michigan Anesthesiology is well known for high-quality research, medical education, and patient care.  I am looking forward to joining the Leaders and Best in anesthesiology.

John Drew Sturgeon

J. Drew Sturgeon, Ph.D.

Clinical Assistant Professor - Clinical Psychologist at the Back & Pain

Ph.D.: Arizona State University
Fellowship in Pain Psychology: Stanford University T32 Research Fellowship in Psychology: Stanford University

Research Interests: Psychological interventions for the management of chronic pain and headache conditions, the role of social and emotional factors in chronic pain, and resilience in chronic pain. 

Why U-M Anesthesiology? he department has a very strong national reputation in pain research, as well as a history of providing strong support to junior scientists.  Plus, I'm a Michigander, so this is a return home for me!

Hobbies: I'm a Detroit/Michigan sports fan, for better or worse. I enjoy exercise (running, weightlifting, and basketball), reading (non-fiction, science fiction), trivia, and local beer.   

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received? "Understand failure as part of the process, not as the end of the story."  It helps me understand what resilience is. 

Zahra Sykes MD

Zahra Sykes, M.D.

Clinical Assistant Professor - Pediatric Anesthesia

Medical School: Central Michigan University
Residency: Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University
Fellowship in Pediatric Anesthesiology: University of Michigan

Research interests: Women in medicine and wellness in medicine

Why U-M Anesthesiology: I was raised in Michigan and love the opportunities that Michigan Medicine and Ann Arbor have to offer. The division of pediatric anesthesia is close knit and I feel like they are family. 

Hobbies: I love spending time with my friends and family. My hobbies include traveling, exercising, and spending time on the lake. 

Best advice I’ve received: The best advice I have received was to try to find the good in every situation. This has taught me to always be positive in life and that always makes a huge difference! 

Ekaterina Tsymbal Gill MD

Ekaterina Tsymbal Gill, M.D.

Clinical Assistant Professor - Multispeciality Anesthesia

Medical School: Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine
Residency: University of California-Davis

Research Interests: Multimodal analgesia and reducing opioid utilization and clinical physiologic monitoring to improve patient safety and perioperative outcomes.

Why U-M Anesthesiology: I was initially drawn to the University of Michigan Department of Anesthesiology due to its impeccable reputation, and innumerable recommendations from colleagues and departmental alumni, who painted a picture of an unparalleled center of academic and clinical excellence, with strong female leadership to boot. :)

Hobbies: Hiking and backpacking the mountains and national parks of California and Utah with my husband and bernedoodle (Kobe). We are excited to explore all the nature  that Michigan has to offer, and will need to transition to lake life! 

Best advice I’ve received: Be vulnerable. Be humble. Never stop learning, never stop growing. 

Non-ACGME Fellows

Kory LaPree, D.O.

Clinical Instructor - Non-ACGME Orthopedic Anesthesia Fellow

Medical School: Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Residency: University of Michigan

Research Interests: Regional anesthesia interventions/techniques

Why U-M Anesthesiology: I was interested in being part of a large, diverse team that has endless collaboration. I appreciate the large amounts of opportunities available in teaching, administration, complex cases, and much more. The team, the team, the team.

Hobbies: Any large block of free time is spent traveling, most often to Hawaii for surfing and hiking. On a weekly basis, I play on recreational softball and volleyball leagues with friends/colleagues. If there is any other free time, I spend it golfing, boating, and playing pickleball/tennis.  

Best advice I’ve received: Anesthesiologists are the happiest doctors in the world. - my mother

Shagun Mathur, M.D.

Clinical Instructor - Non-ACGME Liver Transplant Anesthesia Fellow

Medical School: Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis
Residency: University of Michigan

Research Interests: Transplant anesthesiology

Why U-M Anesthesiology: I came here for residency for the excellent training, but also because everyone in the department seemed so happy and welcoming!

Hobbies: Cooking new things, binge-watching Netflix shows, floating on the river, reading novels 

Best advice I’ve received: Get covered parking in Michigan

Maria Mendoza Cuartas MD

Maria Mendoza Cuartas, M.D.

Clinical Assistant Professor - Non-ACGME Regional Anesthesia Fellow

Medical School: CES University, Medellin, Colombia, South America
Residency: Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Fellowship in Pediatric Anesthesiology: Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Research Interests: Regional anesthesia 

Why U-M Anesthesiology: The way it was described by the staff as a welcoming team environment that allowed for new learning and growth opportunities.

Hobbies: Family, traveling, and some me time (not much these days :))

Best advice I’ve received: Small sentences my mom always tells me to repeat to myself: Believe in yourself, you got this, you can do it!, and have faith in God.  

Raymond Van Ham, M.D.

Clinical Instructor - Non-ACGME Regional Anesthesia Fellow

Medical School: University of Pittsburgh 
Residency: University of Michigan 

Research Interests: Regional anesthesia, anesthetic and intraoperative medical devices

Why U-M Anesthesiology: Friendly and supportive environment in the department

Hobbies: Playing pickleball!  Hiking, cooking, gardening

Best advice I’ve received: Pay yourself first.

Matthew Vengalil MD

Matthew Vengalil, M.D.

Clinical Assistant Professor - Non-ACGME Neuroanesthesia Fellow

Medical School: University of California San Francisco
Residency: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center 

Research Interests: Neuroanesthesia, compassionate care in the ICU

Why U-M Anesthesiology: The friendly, supportive community!

Hobbies: Traveling, building community, meeting new people, Russian literature

Best advice I’ve received: Good thoughts, good words, good deeds.